Nail Polish is notorious for having a strong, chemical smell…because Nail Polish is normally filled with strong, harsh, toxic chemicals. In the past about 10 years, you’ve probably seen marketing labels on Nail Polish that claim their product are 3-Free, 5-Free, or 10-Free. These “Free”” labels sound great! But what do they really mean?
3-Free Nail Polish is nail polish formulated without…
Dibutyl Phthalate: Hormone disruptor and can cause birth defects. It’s banned in the European Union.
Formaldehyde: Preservative that is a human carcinogen.
Toluene: Skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant. When inhaled, this chemical can cause nausea and dizziness. In more extreme cases, it can be deadly.
5-Free Nail Polish is formulated without…
Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Toluene, as well as
Formaldehyde Resin: Not as toxic as Formaldehyde however, it is still a skin irritant and can cause allergic reactions.
Camphor: Skin irritant and when inhaled, can cause nausea and headaches. This chemical can also cause nails to become dry and brittle…so if you have weak nails, this chemical could be to blame!
10-Free Nail Polish is formulated without…
Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, as well as
Ethyl Tosylamide: May cause antibiotic resistance. For this reason, it is banned in the European Union.
Xylene: Allergen and may be cancerous.
Parabens: Hormone Disruptor.
Animal-By-Products: Not necessarily “toxic”, but definitely a no-go for Vegan Nail Polish.
Fragrance: Can cause cancer, allergies, skin irritation, hormone disruption, birth defects, and respiratory toxicity. “Fragrance” is an umbrella term, which up to 3,000 chemicals can hide behind.
You’ve also probably seen nail polish labeled 7-Free, 8-Free, 9-Free, 16-Free, etc. These are just marketing buzzwords to trick unknowing consumers into thinking they’re getting rid of toxic chemicals. A lot of times, the chemicals that these formulas are “free” of, are chemicals that aren’t even used in nail polish!
While I do think 10-Free nail polish is good, and they’re what I’ve been using recently, I figured there’s got to be a better option… Well, I found it!
Recently I’d been hearing about SOPHi by Piggy Paint. Piggy Paint is a non-toxic nail polish made for kids. Piggy Paint came out with SOPHi, which is the same non-toxic formulation, just with more mature colors. Also, on top of having a cleaner formulation, SOPHi is also vegan, cruelty-free, and Made in the USA. The formula is water based and it doesn’t cause your nails to get yellow or become brittle. On SOPHi’s website, they claim to be formulated without any harsh chemicals.
Surface level, that all sounds like great stuff! However, I’m a TOXIN FREE blogger, so I did have to dive deeper into the chemicals they do use.
The 3 main chemicals they use are water, acrylates copolymer, and neem oil. We all know water is totally safe, but I did need to research the other 2 further.
Acrylates Copolymer: Has a 1-2 rating from EWG. I can’t find any studies or data suggesting that this is a toxic chemical, so for now, it’s safe!
Neem Oil: Rated a 1 on EWG. I did find some concerning information at the bottom of this Dr. Axe post however, for the tiny amount in the nail polish and since we’re not ingesting it, I’m not concerned about this ingredient.
Their polishes also contain chemicals to give them their color. This is pretty much unavoidable in nail polish unless you’re just wearing clear. And if you’re doing that, what’s the point? Just my opinion…
Anyways, there are a few dyes they use that have a 2-5 rating on EWG depending on the usage and if they’re contaminated. These dyes are Red 28, Red 17, Violet 2, and Chrome Green. From the information on EWG, Violet 2, Red 28, and Red 17, I don’t have a problem with using them in nail polish. Their big concern is they can cause eye irritation and shouldn’t be ingested, so keep them off your face. Chrome Green isn’t too bad in nail polish either, it’s just concerning if it’s ingested or particles are inhaled. If you’re super concerned, just don’t get a shade with Chrome Green in it.
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get on to my experience with the SOPHi Nail Polish!
I had read some reviews before purchasing SOPHi. Some people hated it saying it peeled right off their nails the first day. Others LOVED it saying it lasted an entire week! I figured I’d just get everything I needed to do a SOPHi manicure properly and if it didn’t work, at least I’d tried.
I ordered the PRIME + SHINE + SEAL System, the shades Morning Kisses and Mi Amore, and the Nail Polish Stripper. SOPHi included a little business card with instructions on the back. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY OR YOUR NAIL POLISH WILL NOT LAST! I’m pretty sure that’s where people went wrong.
I’m sooo happy to say that my nail polish lasted a solid 5 days. I removed it on day 6 when it started to chip. Even day 6 wasn’t bad though…I’m just a picker so at the sight of the first chip, I pick away. I’m so blown away though! My nails curve side to side and slightly front to back, so shellac doesn’t even last more than 5 days on me and it normally starts cracking by day 3. I also normally get about 1.5 days of wear with regular nail polish before it starts to crack and chip. The SOPHi polish NEVER even cracked! (While I had this polish on, I painted with acrylic paints, a puppy was gnawing on my hand, and I cleaned my bathroom with no gloves and the nail polish lasted through it all.)
Seriously y’all, my mind is blown…
Here’s the Step By Step instructions on how to apply the SOPHi Nail Polish.
I followed the instructions on the card exactly and it worked like a charm! The instructions on the bottle say to paint all the coats and blow dry at the end. That way does not work apparently and it will peel off quickly. I blow dried for 60 seconds after each coat and the nail polish lasted almost an entire week.
I used the shade Morning Kisses and I did 3 coats of it.
After washing hands with soap and water, apply a thin coat of SOPHi’s Primer + Sealer and let air dry.
Apply a couple coats of SOPHi Nail Polish color. Like I mentioned, I used Morning Kisses and I did 3 coats. VERY IMPORTANT…You MUST blow dry with a hair dryer AFTER EACH COAT! I blow dried for about 60 seconds each coat. If you don’t do this, or if you blow dry once at the end of the 2-3 coats, the polish will not last as long!
Apply a coat of the Shine Topcoat and blow dry.
Apply a coat of the Primer + Sealer and blow dry.
That’s it! This is definitely my new favorite nail polish and it’s not remotely as toxic as regular nail polish.
Here’s also the progression of how it lasted.
To Remove SOPHi Nail Polish
I bought the SOPHi Nail Polish Stripper to remove the nail polish. I found it easiest to spread a little dab of the nail polish stripper to coat each nail, then before it dries, scrape it off. The instructions say to let it soak on nail for 1-2 minutes, then wipe it off with a paper towel. I tired that method and it did not work. It worked best when I peeled it off when the stripper wasn’t completely dry.
Just for fun, I tried to remove one nail with acetone. The acetone didn’t take it off any easier. It just broke down the layers so you could peel off the polish, which is exactly what the Nail Polish Stripper did, except the Nail Polish Stripper isn’t as toxic.
If this polish and blow dry stuff isn’t for you and you insist on sticking with normal nail polish, I recommend only using 10-free polish. My favorite brands of 10-Free nail polish are ZOYA and 100% Pure.
If you’ve tried SOPHi nail polish, leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it! And if you have any suggestions on other non-toxic nail polish brands, let me know in the comments as well!
For more tips on swapping products for toxin free alternatives, check out this post!
Thanks for reading!